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'Ready for Wuhan-style summit meet with India despite BRI differences'

Beijing: China said Friday it was ready to hold a Wuhan-style summit meeting with India this year to improve ties, notwithstanding the differences over the trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative in which the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a flagship project.

Addressing a media conference here ahead of the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) being held from April 25-27 to showcase China's trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi appealed to India to shed its opposition to the USD 60 billion CPEC, saying it no way "undermined" the essential position on the Kashmir dispute.

Asked if India's opposition to the BRI would undermine the new momentum generated by last year's informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Wang said the two leaders had a very successful meeting at Wuhan city.

"Particularly they have established mutual trust between the leadership and they jointly planned for the future of improvement and strengthening of China-India relations.

"After the Wuhan summit, we see all areas or progress between the two countries, and we have a bright prospect for this relationship. We are now preparing for the next summit of our leaders," he said without specifying any timeline.

After the Wuhan summit hosted by China, the second summit will be held by India. President Xi plans to visit India for the 2nd informal summit after the general elections, currently underway, are over.

Wang said so far 37 heads of state and governments had confirmed their participation in the BRF. Representatives from over 150 countries organisations' close to 5,000 participants have confirmed their participation.

Leaders of Pakistan and Nepal are among the countries who would take part in the meeting.

Informed sources said that there was no official invitation from China to the Indian leadership or at the ministerial level to take part in its 2nd BRF meeting. For its first BRF meeting held in May 2017, China had invited India to take part in the six separate forums that China organised as part of the meeting.

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